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Final Fantasy XIV Failed Due To Overly Detailed Flowerpots 195

_xeno_ (155264) writes "You might not remember Final Fantasy XIV, the Square Enix MMORPG that flopped so badly that Square Enix fired the original developers. But Square Enix certainly does, and at a recent GDC panel, producer Naoki Yoshida explained his views on what caused its failure. One reason? The focus on graphical quality over game play, leading to flower pots that required the same rendering power as player characters, but without the same focus on making the game fun to play. Along with severe server instability and a world made up of maze-like maps, he also cited the game being stuck in past, trying to stick with a formula that worked with Square Enix's first MMO, Final Fantasy XI, without looking at newer MMOs to see what had worked there."

One Billion Android Devices Open To Privilege Escalation 117

msm1267 (2804139) writes "The first deep look into the security of the Android patch installation process, specifically its Package Management Service (PMS), has revealed a weakness that puts potentially every Android device at risk for privilege escalation attacks. Researchers from Indiana University and Microsoft published a paper that describes a new set of Android vulnerabilities they call Pileup flaws, and also introduces a new scanner called SecUP that detects malicious apps already on a device lying in wait for elevated privileges. The vulnerability occurs in the way PMS handles updates to the myriad flavors of Android in circulation today. The researchers say PMS improperly vets apps on lower versions of Android that request OS or app privileges that may not exist on the older Android version, but are granted automatically once the system is updated.

The researchers said they found a half-dozen different Pileup flaws within Android's Package Management Service, and confirmed those vulnerabilities are present in all Android Open Source Project versions and more than 3,500 customized versions of Android developed by handset makers and carriers; more than one billion Android devices are likely impacted, they said."
Handily enough, the original paper is not paywalled.

NSA Hacked Huawei, Stole Source Code 287

Charliemopps (1157495) writes "New documents from Snowden indicate that the NSA hacked into and stole documents, including source code, from the Chinese networking firm Huawei. Ironically, this is the same firm that the U.S. government has argued in the past was a threat due to China's possible use of the same sort of attacks."

Computer Spots Fakers Better Than People Do 62

Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Using sophisticated pattern matching software, researchers have had substantially better success with a computer, than was obtained with human subjects, in spotting faked facial expressions of pain. [Original, paywalled article in Current Biology] From the Reuters piece: '... human subjects did no better than chance — about 50 percent ...', 'The computer was right 85 percent of the time.'"

AMD Develops New Linux Open-Source Driver Model 142

An anonymous reader writes "AMD privately shared with Phoronix during GDC2014 that they're developing a new Linux driver model. While there will still be an open (Gallium3D) and closed-source (Catalyst) driver, the Catalyst driver will be much smaller. AMD developers are trying to isolate the closed-source portion of the driver to just user-space while the kernel driver that's in the mainline Linux kernel would also be used by Catalyst. It's not clear if this will ultimately work but they hope it will for reducing code duplication, eliminating fragmentation with different kernels, and allowing open and closed-source driver developers to better collaborate over the AMD Radeon Linux kernel driver."

They're Reading Your Mail: Microsoft's ToS, Windows 8 Leak, and Snooping 206

After the recent Windows 8 leak by recently arrrested then-Microsoft employee Alex Kibkalo, Microsoft has tweaked its privacy policies, but also defended reading the email of the French blogger to whom Kibkalo sent the software. "The blogger in question, who remains unidentified, happened to use Hotmail—the investigation began in 2012 before Hotmail's transition—as his primary email account. So as part of its investigation, Microsoft peeked into the blogger's email account to read that person's correspondence with Kibkalo. ... Microsoft says it was justified in searching the blogger's email account, because it had probable cause to believe Kibkalo was funneling trade secrets to the blogger.The company also pointed out that even with its justification for searching the account, it would have been impossible to gain a court order." "The legal system wouldn't have let us" seems a strange argument to defend any act of snooping.

Fake PGP Keys For Crypto Developers Found 110

IamTheRealMike (537420) writes "In recent months fake PGP keys have been found for at least two developers on well known crypto projects: Erinn Clark, a Tor developer and Gavin Andresen, the maintainer of Bitcoin. In both cases, these PGP keys are used to sign the downloads for popular pieces of crypto software. PGP keys are supposed to be verified through the web of trust, but in practice it's very hard to find a trust path between two strangers on the internet: one reply to Erinn's mail stated that despite there being 30 signatures [attached to] her key, [the respondent] couldn't find any trust paths to her. It's also very unclear whether anyone would notice a key substitution attack like this. This leaves three questions: who is doing this, why, and what can be done about it? An obvious candidate would be intelligence agencies, who may be trying to serve certain people with backdoored binaries via their QUANTUMTHEORY man-in-the-middle system. As to what can be done about it, switching from PGP to X.509 code signing would be an obvious candidate. Both Mac and Windows support it, obtaining a forged certificate is much harder than simply uploading a fake PGP key, and whilst X.509 certs can be issued in secret until Google's Certificate Transparency system is fully deployed, finding one would be strong evidence that an issuing CA had been compromised: something that seems plausible but for which we currently lack any evidence. Additionally, bad certificates can be revoked when found whereas beyond making blog posts, not much can be done about the fake PGP keys."
The Military

Navy Database Tracks Civilians' Parking Tickets, Fender-Benders 96

schwit1 (797399) writes with this excerpt from the Washington Examiner: "A parking ticket, traffic citation or involvement in a minor fender-bender are enough to get a person's name and other personal information logged into a massive, obscure federal database run by the U.S. military. The Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LinX, has already amassed 506.3 million law enforcement records ranging from criminal histories and arrest reports to field information cards filled out by cops on the beat even when no crime has occurred."

Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework 278

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Dana Goldstein writes in The Atlantic that while one of the central tenets of raising kids in America is that parents should be actively involved in their children's education — meeting with teachers, volunteering at school, and helping with homework — few parents stop to ask whether they're worth the effort. Case in point: In the largest-ever study of how parental involvement affects academic achievement researchers combed through nearly three decades' worth of longitudinal surveys of American parents and tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in kids' academic lives, from helping them with homework, to talking with them about college plans, to volunteering at their schools. What they found surprised them. Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire — regardless of a parent's race, class, or level of education. Once kids enter middle school, parental help with homework can actually bring test scores down, an effect Robinson says could be caused by the fact that many parents may have forgotten, or never truly understood, the material their children learn in school. 'As kids get older—we're talking about K-12 education — parents' abilities to help with homework are declining,' says Keith Robinson. 'Even though they may be active in helping, they may either not remember the material their kids are studying now, or in some cases never learned it themselves, but they're still offering advice. And that means poor quality homework.'" (More, below.)

Ask Slashdot: Re-Learning How To Interview As a Developer? 218

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier in my career, when I switched jobs every year or so, I was pretty good at interviewing. I got offers about 75% of the time if I got to a in person. But times have changed... my last 2 jobs have been, longer term gigs.. 5 and 3 years respectively, and I am way out of practice. My resume often gets me the phone interview and I am actually really good at the phone screen.. I am 12 for 12 in the last 6 months phone screen to in person interview. It is the in person interview where I am really having issues. I think I come off wrong or something.. I usually get most of the technical questions, but I am not doing something right because I don't come off very likeable or something. It is hard to get very much feedback to know exactly what I am doing wrong. I have always gotten very good performance reviews and I am well liked at work, but if there is one area for improvement on my reviews it has always been communication. So I ask, can anyone give out some advice, I have tried toastmasters a few times, but does anyone have other tips or ideas? Has anyone else had a similar experiences?"

Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group 107

An anonymous reader writes "Last Friday may turn out to have marked the beginning of Silicon Valley's organized labor movement--startup employees met in Palo Alto 'to share war stories and to start developing what organizers called a 'Startup Employee Equity Bill of Rights'.'" That probably should include the right to work late, for little pay, and to trade less certainty now for greater hoped-for benefits down the road. If you've been a startup employee, or started one of your own, what would you put on the wishlist?
Open Source

Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century 248

An anonymous reader writes "Neovim is a major overhaul of the vim editor to provide better scripting, cleaner support for plugins and integration with modern graphical interfaces. Modernising the large and complex codebase of Vim is a formidable task, but the developer has a clear plan, and has already begun work. There's a Bountysource fundraiser running to support the effort. If Vim is your editor of choice, check it out." (The crowd-funding effort has only one more day to go, but has well exceeded already the initial goal of $10,000.)

Creationists Demand Equal Airtime With 'Cosmos' 667

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Travis Gettys reports that creationist Danny Falkner appeared Thursday on "The Janet Mefford Show" to complain that the Fox television series and its host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, had marginalized those with dissenting views on accepted scientific truths. "I don't recall seeing any interviews with people – that may yet come – but it's based upon the narration from the host and then various types of little video clips of various things, cartoons and things like that," said Falkner of Answers In Genesis who also complained that Tyson showed life arose from simple organic compounds without mentioning that some believe that's not possible. "I was struck in the first episode where he talked about science and how, you know, all ideas are discussed, you know, everything is up for discussion – it's all on the table – and I thought to myself, 'No, consideration of special creation is definitely not open for discussion, it would seem." To be fair, there aren't a ton of shows on TV specifically about creationism says William Hamby. "However, there are entire networks devoted to Christianity, and legions of preachers with all the airtime they need to denounce evolution. Oh, and there was that major movie from a few years back. And there's a giant tax-payer subsidized theme park in Kentucky. And the movie about Noah. And entire catalogs of creationist movies and textbooks you can own for the low low price of $13.92.""

Mute Witness: Forensic Sketches From Nothing But DNA 68

First time accepted submitter Todd Palin (1402501) writes "Researchers at Penn State university are trying to reconstruct images of faces based only on a DNA sample of the individual. As far out as this sounds, they did a pretty good job at matching the actual appearance of the faces. This is a pretty good start on a whole new use for DNA samples. Imagine a mug shot of a rapist based only on a DNA sample."

Oppo's New Phone Hits 538 PPI 217

itwbennett (1594911) writes "Oppo Electronics has taken off the wraps on its first LTE phone, and it packs more technology than most if not all laptops. The Find 7 is a 5.5" phone and is the first to support 2560 x 1440 resolution [538 PPI] (by comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has 441 PPI). 'Another striking and unique feature of the phone is its 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor,' writes blogger Andy Patrizio. 'This is Qualcomm's first chip to feature its Gobi True 4G LTE World Mode, supporting LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, CDMA1x, EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and GSM4. Translation: this phone will work on LTE all over the world.'"